Police advanced on protesters’ encampment in the center of Kiev on Tuesday night, threatening to recapture the focal point of Ukraine’s unrest after the deadliest day of violence in three months resulted in at least thirteen deaths—including six police officers—and hundreds wounded.
The situation was volatile but local news footage showed riot police approaching he edge of the square where thousands of activists have been gathered, while protesters hurled petrol bombs, fireworks and stones over the barricades, Reuters reports. Authorities had set a 6 p.m. deadline for protesters to disperse. Soon the encampment was seen in flames.
The violence erupted Tuesday after protesters marched out of their encampments in the center of Kiev, accusing the government of ignoring their demands after nearly three months of protests have held the city at a standstill. Before evening, thousands of protestors streamed to Kiev’s Independence Square to defend the the sprawling protest camp there, after opposition leaders warned of an imminent police attack.
The events Tuesday signaled a bloody turn after months of unrest over the Ukrainian government’s decision to forgo a trade agreement with Europe in favor of closer ties with Russia.